Salted paper print, hand-colored
Image: 24 x 19.2 cm (9 7/16 x 7 9/16 in.); Paper: 29.2 x 25 cm (11 1/2 x 9 13/16 in.)
Gift of Charles Isaacs and Carol Nigro 2003.302
Color photography was not widely available until the 20th century, but 19th-century photographs could be embellished with hand-applied paints or dyes for an extra charge. Hand coloring, often done by women, usually was limited to adding dabs of pink on lips and cheeks or gold on jewelry, but sometimes, as here, the entire surface would be covered to emulate a painting. The edges of this mount are covered with trial dabs of watercolor that would have been hidden by the mat. Once portraits leave the context of the family, the identities of the sitters are most often lost, as is the case for these twins. Since the Davis Brothers’ studio was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, around this time, one can assume the twins lived there.
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